It took nearly 20 years to get the project moving, but the 56-year-old North Avenue bridge over the Aspetuck River, just north of Coleytown Road, will finally close for the nearly $1 million reconstruction project starting March 18.

"The project's been on the table since before '95," said Public Works Director Stephen Edwards. "In '95 we went to the state and made the first application for repair, for a grant to do the repair, so essentially it really had its genesis in '95."

"The road will be closed for six months," he said. "The overall project will take eight months," including what Edwards called "punch-list items." He said these could include "the pointing up of masonry work, some touch-up in the asphalt (and) landscaping."

"The intent is to get the bridge open as soon as possible," he said.

Traffic from either side of the span will be diverted the long way around by way of Lyons Plains Road. However, much of the traffic bound for Weston will likely begin making greater use of Bayberry Lane Extension.

"The actual cost of the bridge reconstruction is $940,059.20," Edwards said. "That was a contract to NJR Construction out of Terryville, Connecticut."

The overall project involves removal of the bridge deck and steel superstructure, and its replacement with a pre-cast concrete box beams and a new concrete bridge deck. The existing bridge abutments will remain in place, Edwards said, and scour protection will be added underneath the river bed.

The construction company is scheduled to start bringing equipment to the site March 11, and actually begin dismantling the bridge on March 18.